The Race to Make Exercising Fun (New Fitness App from Whynot Studio)

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Challenge online friends, from anywhere in the world, to a real-life running race.

The race to make exercising fun

Everybody has at least one good idea for an app... It’s a favourite party conversation. I’ve often thought that some of the ideas people talk about could be the next Instagram or Flappy Bird.

Race Around the World is a free new fitness app for the iPhone that brings an exciting social element to exercising. The app lets users answer a simple but powerful question: Where would they be right now if they could join up all of their little bike rides or runs throughout the year, and combine them into one massive journey? Also, perhaps more importantly, would they be ahead of their friends?

Those were the questions that drove Australian app developer, Simon Vincenzi, to spend the last 18 months, in a field he knew virtually nothing about, developing a fitness app that allows users to set a huge long-term goal, and race their friends there.

“I wanted an app that would get people excited about exercising," said Vincenzi, "and what’s more exciting than kicking your friend’s butt at something?”

Vincenzi developed the app on his laptop at night while he was working as a salesclerk in an electronics store.

“Everybody has at least one good idea for an app,” said Vincenzi. “It’s a favourite party conversation. I’ve often thought that some of the ideas people talk about could be the next Instagram or Flappy Bird. But most of us realise you probably need to be able to code or, at least, know something about the app industry to turn the idea into a reality. I guess I’m just more stubborn than I probably should be, because I wasn’t going to stop until this app was on the App Store.”

The app also lets users ride solo. It can be used to set a personal goal, “You can’t improve what you don’t measure,” said Vincenzi, “and it’s often difficult for us to visualise how much we’ve achieved through our periodic exercising. What Race Around the World does, is make it possible to set a real-world goal, and visually track how close you are to achieving it.”

The app offers joggers, cyclists, and general movers the chance to track their movement via their iPhone’s G.P.S., and relates them into true, real world journeys such as Milan-to-Paris or L.A.-to-Vegas. It then optionally allows friends to “race” each other to their chosen destination. Everyone in the race then simply goes about their usual exercising regimes on their own. The first one to finish the race wins.

“It came from me wondering where I would be if I joined up all of my runs throughout the year? Probably in another city. I pictured myself on some Forest Gump style journey, and with that, my runs started to take-on a new meaning. They weren’t about staying fit any more. The goal became bigger than that.”

The app will also work in conjunction with any other fitness app. Once Race Around the World is started, the user can close it and let it do its thing in the background.

It would seem that an app that focuses on the more enjoyable aspects of exercise could not come sooner. While the fitness industry is growing as quickly as belt buckles are breaking, one may guess that, soon, images of sweaty teary people on television, or incredibly fit men working out at home gyms, will eventually become tiresome for the everyday person who just needs a little motivation to get moving.

“Our aim has always been to make it fun, and by adding the social element, we wanted to make this as much for the fitness fanatics as it is for people who aren’t dead serious about their fitness.”

Indeed, anyone who moves, walks, runs, or rides a bike can use the app. Perhaps it could become the latest battleground for fiercely competitive friends. Race Around the World could very well prompt those of us who know we should get moving into an all-out battle with friends and family. The (possibly unintentional) by-product of which could be an overall improvement in health and fitness.

Race Around the World is free to download from the App Store.

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Simon Vincenzi
Race Around the World
since: 04/2014
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